Client-Intensive-2019
Business

What I shipped in 2019

Each year I post a year in review highlighting the major breakthroughs and things I’m proud of. In the words of Seth Godin I look at what I have shipped.

In 2019, I’ve decided to look at what has had the most impact in terms of my business and life in general.

1. Getting engaged

Getting engaged to Lou has has been a big personal milestone for me.

Lou and bellaI’ve found a loving partner who:
1. Brings out the best in me and makes life better.
2. Make me laugh and finds me interesting whilst accepting me for who I am.
3. Supports me and understands my world as entrepreneur as she is a business owner herself.

Plus I’ve got to welcome her dog Bella into my world!   We moved into a new place together in June, and that has also been a huge game changer for us.  Living back in Brisbane has also allowed me to spend more time with my niece, nephew and god daughter!

2. Swimming 4-5x per week

I’d been looking for a local swimming squad for quite some time, and the pool nearest to me didn’t have any adults sessions advertised. Proximity to the pool is a big factor in me actually attending training, so I was thrilled when I bumped into a mate who told me about the local squad.  They don’t advertise it because the pool is quite small, so this discovery was a major turning point for me.

Since July…. I’ve been doing 4-5 sessions per week. Combined with intermittent fasting (see below), I was able to shed 10kg between July and November.

I also find swimming somewhat meditative. I’ve never quite got my head around pure meditation, but I find swimming allows me to clear my mind and focus on breathing, which is my understanding of what mediation helps you achieve.

In 2020, I’d like to add yoga and some strength work to my routine.

3. Intermittent fasting

I first discovered intermittent fasting (IF) in 2017, and managed to lose 15kg in that year.  I’ve been an advocate ever since.  That said, in 2018 and early 2019 whilst I was technically fasting intermittently for much of the time, I realised the poor quality and large quantity of food I ate caused me to gain 10kg.

A trip to the US in July coincided with my friend and running coach being there too, and he commented that I’d put on a few kilos.  I knew it, but the feedback was a timely reality check and served as a turning point to get back into things properly.  I immediately resumed the fasting program that had been so effective in the past and have shed those ten kilos.

What my intermittent fasting looks like

Typically I’ll have one meal per day at around 6pm or 7pm.   I start the day with a bulletproof coffee which is black coffee mixed with a teaspoon of ghee, and a teaspoon of MCT oil.   It usually keeps me going until my main meal at 6pm.  I’m not suggesting it will suit you, but it’s been working for me, and has transformed my relationship with food.

When I do eat, I try to aim for keto based meals which are low (or no) carb, high protein & high fat. Typically it consists of vegetables, eggs and some meat.   When I do have a blow-out on the food front, I can negate it with a 48 hour fast.    On three occasions in 2019, I did 100 hour fasts (4.5 days).  It’s like a nice reset for my body.

In 2020 I’m going to experiment with the impact reducing alcohol intake has.

4. On the work front: Simplifying.

In the past I’ve been guilty of biting off more than I can chew, and getting overwhelmed.   So when I analysed what moved the needle the most and what I enjoyed the most, it was the same thing — my coaching program.  So I focused on that, and freed myself from worrying about the other stuff.

My mantra became: Do fewer things, but better.

I doubled down on my coaching program and so far at least 40 private clients have participated in it.  The reason I find this work most rewarding is because I can guide people along the whole the journey — not just the start of it.

In the past, speaking and in-house training was a big chunk of what I’ve done, revenue-wise. But I kept encountering the same challenge which was people would see me at a conference or workshop, but then when I saw them again, they’d not really implemented much.    Now I love holding people’s hand, so they don’t get stuck or overwhelmed.  The coaching program is a combination of 1-on-1 coaching and peer group workshops.

Client Intensive 2019

In 2019, speaking and in-house workshops were a ‘nice-to-have’ if people asked and if the projects were interesting, but the coaching program was what I focused on.   This was liberating as well as made me more effective.

In 2020, my goal is to refine the coaching program to make it more useful and also to build out a 12 month graduate program once clients complete the 90 LinkedIn Launchpad Program.

Part of my plan includes creating online modules for clients that package up the IP that I teach.

This has 3 benefits for me and my clients.

  • Clients can refer back to the material whenever they need.
  • It’s not reliant on me repeating myself every time to clients. They can refer them to the material and implement it on their own and then our 1-on-1 time together is more effective since I can help them refine it from there.
  • I can then sell these ‘modules’ as online courses to people who aren’t quite ready for my private coaching and it also serves as entry points for these prospective clients.

In 2019, Toby and I also formalised our new working relationship with Bluewire.

I’ve been running Bluewire for most of 2019, whilst Toby has taken a more of a backseat.  Toby’s involvement has evolved to a point where he can follow his true passion and apply his ‘native genius’ in the area of high performance.  Toby launched his new business, North — a “high performance culture” consultancy with Jonah Oliver.

Toby is still a director and shareholder of Bluewire, and works with me on the strategic direction of the company, as well as looks after its financial management.   It is a great working relationship and exciting for both of us.

5. 100 videos in 100 days

I made a pact in March to record 100 videos and 100 days and publish them online.   I enjoyed the process so much that I continued and did many more than the 100 I set out to do.  You can check them out on my Facebook page.

On the content creation front, I’ve released over a dozen new LinkedIn resources which I’ve shared with readers and LinkedIn contacts. All of them are free, and they’ve been downloaded by tens of thousands of people.  Sharing these resources and building this ‘content asset’ has been very satisfying.

6. Travel

Travel and adventure has always been something I’ve enjoyed and this year I spent some time visiting parts of Australia and well as overseas.

  • Australia: Perth & Margaret River for my 39th bday, plus little getaways to Coolum and Broadbeach.
  • USA: St Louis, New Jersey and New York.
  • Bangalore, India: This was for a conference (which was ultimately a debacle because it got cancelled morning it was meant to start).

2020 plans

I document all my goals and review with them Toby and Lou, but the big pictures ones are:

  • Focus on onboarding 100 clients into my coaching program and help each of them achieve good results.
  • Build out more of our IP into 3 online courses for clients (specifically on the topics of Sales & Conversion, Email Marketing and Content Marketing).
  • Celebrate my 40th birthday in April.

PS. Please donate to the Australian fires….

Australian firesAt the time of writing, hundreds of out-of-control fires are raging across Australia causing catastrophic damage. Our thoughts and donations are with the firefighters and the families who’ve lost everything.

Australian comedian Celeste Barber is helping the situation via the power of social media and has raised $6,058,113 in the last  48 hours (and more donations are flooding in).  Money raised is going to the fire services and if you can help, please make a donation here.

 

I originally published this on the Bluewire Media blog.

​Read More
Business

What I shipped in 2014

Here my reflection of 2014.

Business

Book:

Toby and I published our first book Web Marketing That Works (Wiley 2014).  This has been a goal of ours for many years and it was a proud moment when it came out.  Now of course we need to continue to sell it!

Book Adam & Toby

Podcast:

As part of launching the book we launched a podcast, also called Web Marketing That Works.  It was on the News and Noteworthy for 10 weeks. And then on What’s Hot.  My only slip up was not recording a few more shows to be published whilst I was in Bali… we lost a bit of momentum there.

Online courses:

We launched our Social Media That Works Online Course and had about $50k in sales for it, which we felt was a good start. This was big milestone as we move to focus on more digital products and online revenue. We’ll continue adding more training content and open it up to students again in future.

Personal

Travel

I ended taking 4 overseas vacations and 11 weeks ‘away’.

  • New Zealand (4 weeks) and did a reading at a friend’s wedding
  • Bali (5 weeks across 2 trips) — I proved I could live abroad and still keep Bluewire ticking over.
  • Vanuatu (for 1 week)
  • Plus a week’s holiday on the Gold Coast.

Tobes had a baby girl which was really cool, although  my milestone per se!

What didn’t work

  • I didn’t run any marathons or half marathons and found myself 12-13kgs overweight.
  • There were times I bit off more than I could chew and got overwhelmed and didn’t deliver on projects as well I could’ve.
  • Our book launch had its challenges because we never knew when the book would be out on Kindle or Amazon.  It was a “log on every day to see if it’s live yet” situation.  This made it very hard to co-ordinate a proper  book “launch” especially when the gap from when it came out on e-book (April) was an unexpected month before it came out in book stores (May) and then it was June (for Kindle) and July for Amazon.  Much of this was out of our control but even so it meant our book launch wasn’t as dynamic as we’d hoped.
  • I copped a bit of flak for sharing my Uber experience with our email list. Many viewed it as off-topic and me trying to get a few free Uber rides… It was well intentioned but I have learnt some good lessons with this!

 

 

 

​Read More
Business

What I shipped in 2013

Each year I record what was and wasn’t shipped (Seth’s vernacular). Most are documented goals, but some pop up and are worth writing in the blog post for the record.

Here goes for 2103.

Business

  • Got a book deal with Wiley for Web Marketing That Works
  • Wrote the manuscript with Toby (within a 90 day deadline)

    Sel Adam Suresh Elephant
    In India
  • Spent all day, everyday with Toby from Boxing Day to Jan 3rd making final edits to the manuscript.
  • Launched an online course for $197
  • Ran Social Media Down Under for the second year (even though attendance wasn’t as good as last year)
  • Travelled to India for a keynote speech (and they sent us on a 7 day tour of Kerala afterwards)
  • Ran a Web Marketing Workshop in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne which were well received.
  • Had a major pivot in our business — we discontinued web design and implementation services for clients, so we could focus purely on advice and training.  This move has freed up an enormous amount of time and expenses, with no adverse effect on monthly revenue.

Personal:

  • Spent the year with a lovely girlfriend and went to Auckland for her twin’s wedding.

    Tobes wedding
    Tobes wedding
  • MC’d Toby (and Lucy’s) wedding and Pav (and Alana’s) wedding.
  • Was best man for my brother’s wedding. Gave the best man’s speech, organised the bucks and delivered the rings!
  • Went to the Hong Kong Sevens rugby
  • Ran the Budgy Bolt race around Sydney in speedos!
  • I ended up running 4 half marathons (Canberra 1:43, Sydney 1:39, Gold Coast 1:39, Blackmores 1:50).. I’d aimed to run PBs for half-maraton, marathon and City2Surf, but kept doing ‘halves’ to knock over the PB.

What didn’t work

  • Didn’t make to Inbound since a mate’s wedding took priority.
  • Was saddened to lose a Bluewire friend and alumni, Tony.  We miss you.
​Read More
Toby Jenkins, Jim Collins & Adam Franklin
Business

What I shipped in 2012

Inspired by Seth Godin,  I am pleased to document my 2012 list of what I’ve shipped (and also what I didn’t).

Business:

  • Web Strategy Summit 2012
    Web Strategy Summit 2012

    Ran my first Social Media Down Under event in Sydney (72 registrations and it broke even).

  • Ran my first Web Strategy Summit in Brisbane (101 registrations and profitable).
  • Rolled out Hubspot inbound marketing software and grew my email subscribers by 3,745 contacts in 6 months.
  • Did 20 keynote presentations, 2 of which were overseas, and charged my $3k fee for most talks.

    Adam Franklin speaker stage
    Social Media keynote to 400 people
  • Kicked off our first corporate social media training program.
  • Got my first mention in BRW magazine.
  • Met aspirational contacts from the business world and social media land:  Chris Brogan, Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, Gary Vaynerchuk, Eric Keiles, Mike Lieberman, Liz Strauss, Jason Fried, Brian Solis, Jeremiah Owyang, Ann Handley, Tony Hseih, Dan Zarrella, Laura Fitton, Darren Rowse, Chris Guillebeau and the personal highlight Jim Collins.

    Toby, Jenkins, Jim Collins & Adam Franklin
    Toby and me with Jim Collins!
  • Did two work trips to the US and visited Googleplex in Mountain View, Twitter offices in San Francisco and Zappos office in Las Vegas.
  • Travel-wise I got to visit Dajeon (South Korea), Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Hawaii, Chicago and Boston (twice).
  • Got invited to Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers Summit in San Francisco.
Personal
Adam Franklin Gold Coast Marathon 3:39
GC marathon 3:49
  • Ran Canberra half marathon in a PB of 1:34
  • Ran 2 marathons:  Gold Coast in 3:49 and Melbourne in 3:47 and ran into the MCG to cross the finish line.
  • Completed a 5km ocean swim from Coogee to Bondi in 1:49 (I think)
  • Wrote up my bucket list
  • Documented personal core values and personal BHAG
  • Moved into Bondi pad with my mate Tom
  • MC’d my first wedding for my mates Tim & Kate.
  • Melbourne Cup

    Went to Melbourne Cup in the bird cage and actually got to hold to Cup itself!

  • Did a trip to Barossa Valley & tasted Hill of Grace wine
  • Trip to Hunter Valley and saw Rod Stewart
  • Cairns Amateur Races

 

 

What didn’t go so well:

  • I had set out to write a book, which never shipped.  Although I do have the framework and action plan to ship it next year.
  • Couldn’t sweet talk our way into Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, but I’ll find a way next year 😉
  • Missed out on a guest spot on the Breakfast show.
  • Didn’t get tickets to Burning Man, didn’t attend the London Olympics or go surfing in the Maldives or skiing in NZ.

Thanks
A big thanks to our Bluewire family, my real family, Tobes, TF, Mark, Skins, Roomie, Bowesy, my Bondi mates and everyone else who helped make 2012 a brilliant year.

How was your year in review?  Leave a comment or email me if you’re shy.

​Read More
Business

13 brilliant business tips from Aussie John Symond

JohnSymond
‘Aussie’ John Symond

You’d know the voice, you’d know the face and I’m sure you’d all know the name “Aussie” John Symond.  He has a huge profile in Australia thanks to the distinctive “at Aussie, we’ll save you!” adverts.

He was the draw card speaker on Day 1 of the Strategic Entrepreneur Summit in Sydney this weekend.

Here’s a collection of ‘business gems’ I managed to take down during John Symonds interview with host, Siimon Reynolds from The Fortune Institute.

Starting out

Like many successful entrepreneurs and business people, John came from a modest beginning. He grew up in Sydney’s west and attended 11 schools growing up and never went on a family holiday. But this was just fine as he didn’t know any different.

Failure and hardship

John had some success in law but his life suddenly crashed around him. He lost the few million dollars he had saved and was in debt, lost his house, his wife, his self esteem and self respect.

One of the most humiliating things was having his credit card cut up in a Sydney retailer. He’d hit rock bottom, but as John said.

The tide can only come up after it’s gone all the way out.

Most business people have failed and faced hardship but few admit it publicly. This is a shame because it creates a false perception of success and deters many people from going into business, or causes them to give up too soon.

10 year overnight success

John started Aussie Home Loans out of adversity and spent the first 10 years being broke. Obviously now it is very successful, but John is very humble about it.

Goals

All successful people have goals written down and they review them regularly. Despite phenomenal success, John Symond still has the goal of growing Aussie to be a similar size to the Big 4 banks (but of course, not be like the banks!)

Productivity

Don’t ever confuse effort with results. You can spend a long hard at the office and achieve zero results — especially if you are busy doing stuff someone else can take care of.  Hire a PA to delegate admin to, and focus your time doing the high value activity that you’re good at.

Success

Successful entrepreneurs have a laser focus and a true passion for what they do.

Negativity

Don’t tolerate negativity. Hang out with winners – they are more successful, happier, more fun to be around and bring you up! You can spot a negative person because ‘nothing is ever their fault’ and they tend to hang around together. Avoid them.

Aussie John Symond and Siimon Reynolds
John Symond and Siimon Reynolds

Why people fail

Businesses fail because they are run by people who have a Plan B and a Plan C. John suggests that these people are “part timers” and not 100% focussed on the business at hand. They can’t be completely laser focussed because Plan B and Plan C are obviously consuming a fair slice of their attention.

When to give up?

If you truly believe that you have something special in your business, don’t give up until everything is exhausted.

However, if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you  should probably give up because you’ll find something that you can be better at and enjoy more.

Publicity

Always take calls from the media.  John has used publicity has very effectively to promote Aussie, and every day he takes their calls, even if it is negative. But don’t believe what’s written about you.

“If I’d believed even 5 per cent of what’s been written about me, I’d be cuckoo….. more cuckoo!” John Symond

Brand

Live your brand at all times.  It is your differentiator, so look after it. It was funny hearing that John Symond started doing his own adverts because he didn’t have the money to hire ‘real talent’!

Leadership

When the chips are down and times are uncertain your team will be watching you. That’s when you need to show them the way and provide strong leadership.

Never say never

At one stage John told the Commonwealth Bank CEO he’d never sell 30% of Aussie to them. But John later realised ‘never say never’ and changed his mind. That deal is what enabled Aussie to snap up Wizard Homeloans for a fraction of what GE Money had paid for it!    Embrace change. What’s working today maybe be tomorrow’s problem.

So that’s a snapshot of the take-away lessons from Aussie John Symond’s session at Strategic Entrepreneur.  What did I miss out?

​Read More
Business

What’s harder – running a business or a marathon?

Adam Franklin marathon MCG
Finishing the Melbourne marathon inside the MCG

I just finished my fourth marathon on Sunday and I’ve nearly completed eight years in business.

Are the similar? You bet. But they are both as hard and rewarding as each other.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned that are the same in business as marathons.

1. People will think you’re mad.

Hearing loved ones question your sanity for contemplating a marathon or a business is all part of the program for an aspiring entrepreneur or marathoner.

Well intentioned friends remind you that “90% of business fail in the first year” and “42 kilometres is loooong way.” No kidding, but it sounds like a fun challenge right…?

2.  Both are incredibly daunting at the start

But smart mentors and coaches said you don’t need to have all the answers when when you start. Their advice was to commit first, then work out how you’re going to achieve it. I always reminded myself that heaps of other people have been successful in business and in running marathons, so why can’t I?

I started Bluewire because I knew where I wanted to go, but didn’t know how to get there.  Same was true when I said yes to my first marathon.  Then I started  the journey of learning how to do it!

3. You’ve gotta do the work when no-one is watching.

I notice 1000s of people running along the boardwalk at Bondi now that summer is here, but at 5.30am in the dead of winter, I could count them on one hand.  Of course, my point isn’t that you need to get up at 5.30am, just make sure you’re doing the work, especially when no-one watching.

Your training shows.  If you cheat in the dark of morning, you’ll get found out under the bright lights.” ~ Joe Frazier

Adam Franklin Sean Bowes Melbourne Marathon
Me with Sean (Ethiopia kit) before his 2:26 PB in Melbourne

4. You rise to the company you keep

My mate and running coach Sean Bowes helped me take 28 minutes of my marathon PB  (personal best) simply by letting me train with him once a week.

But you know what, as a result Sean’s own time slipped by 20 mins.  I got better, he got worse.

Now he trains with an elite squad in Sydney and did a 4 week high altitude training camp in Kenya and Ethiopia.  Sean’s taken 20 mins off last year’s time to come 11th in the Melbourne marathon in his PB of 2:26:58.

He still coaches me but we don’t train together.

It’s not about brushing your mates, it’s about setting time to team up with people further up the food chain and also being generous enough to help those who aren’t as accomplished as you yet.

In business, I seek am grateful to highly successful mentors but I will always be generous with people who want to ask me questions.

5. If you go out too fast, you’ll crash and burn!

Marathons are fun because they are as much a mental game as a physical one. It’s a game of patience, almost like chess, where you must wait to make your move – like endurance ‘cat and mouse’.

Most marathoners have learnt the way about going out too hard.  ‘Hitting the wall’ is very real and it’s one of the worst pains I’ve experienced – worse than a dislocated shoulder for me. Mates who’ve been elite boxers and professional rugby players have unravelled when they’ve hit the wall.  It can floor you.

Same in business. Undisciplined growth and overzealous plans can unravel a company.  Bluewire very nearly went down that path after 3 years of 200%+ growth, but fortunately we stabilised over the next 4 years by implementing good systems and hiring great people.

Just casting my eye down a few ‘fast lists’ and the Hot30 Under30 list that we were on in 2009, I can’t help but notice several companies are now non-existant.

Management expert and author of Great by Choice, Jim Collins refers to the discipline of not over extending, the company’s 20 mile march.

Coach Sean Bowes says:

If you want to do a 3:30 marathon, go out doing 5 min per km and come home doing 5 min per km.  Simple.  Avoid temptation when it’s easy, and grind it out when things get tough.

So these are 5 of the things I’ve learnt

What else have you learned from running a business or a marathon? And yes, I often think I am mad too!

​Read More
Business

What I learnt from Twitter’s CTO

One of the highlights of the Multipliers Leadership Summit in San Fransisco was hearing from Twitter‘s new CTO Chris Fry.  Chris was formerly at Salesforce.com and oversaw tremendous growth there.

Given Chris has seen huge growth at Salesforce.com and it is going the same way at Twitter, my question for Chris was:

When you made significant breakthroughs at both companies, what were the lightbulb moments and what can we learn from them?

What I learnt from Chris:
There is a lot of debate-making at Twitter, but core values always come back to frame all their decisions. They are always are guided by Twitter’s mission which is to bring free ideas into the world.

Twitter’s CTO Chris Fry

A lot of things change (and break) as you grow from 50 to 100 to 500 staff. Embrace being broken and go back to “learning mode.”  Information flow is important and so is breaking the hierarchy.  Make sure you defeat the hierarchy especially when you are the hierarchy.

Also seek feedback from colleagues when you’re in “learning mode'”  Openness should be a badge of honour.  And finally let people choose their team. It is best for retention and happiness.

—-

Adam & Toby at Twitter

Thanks Chris, you can follow @chfry on twitter.  And thanks also for Melissa for the tour of the Twitter offices that afternoon.

​Read More
Business

What I shipped in 2011

Following in from last year’s post, here’s the list of things I’ve shipped in 2011.  I’ve also included what I didn’t ship and mistakes I’ve learnt from.

Business

First ebook - Web Strategy Secrets

– Bluewire survived the Queensland floods and helped raise over $1200 at Bluewire’s 6th birthday party.
– Launched my first e-book.  ‘Web Strategy Secrets‘ written by Toby Jenkins and myself.
– Did our first Social Media Full Day Interactive Workshop. One in Sydney and one in Brisbane
– Did the launch of our first digital download product – DIY Web Strategy Toolkit for $247.
– Did 10 public speaking events (increasing my fees from $550 to $3,300 over 12 months.)
– Got on two speakers’ bureaus.
– Started a guest blogging column on Startup Smart
– Did my first radio interview on 2UE
– Started a muse (a pretty much automated business as written about in 4 Hour Work Week) called Drag + Fly – it’s a swimming resistance device.

Personal/Fitness

My first marathon in 4:03:01

– Lost 14kg body fat by sticking to the 4 Hour Body slow carb diet. And exercising of course!
– Ran my first marathon   Gold Coast (4:03:01)
– Ran my second marathon in Melbourne (3:34:43) – that’s a 28 minute PB thanks to super coach Sean Bowes.
– Ran 2 half marathons.  Canberra (1:52)  and Sydney (1:38)
– Ran City2Surf 14km fun run (1:01)
– Did 3 ocean swims
– Made 13 donations at Red Cross.  8 plasma and 5 platelet donations
– Donated over 1% of my income to charity
– Strengthened friendships with all the great people in Bondi and Sydney!
– Also got to meet John Howard and David Meerman Scott – two aspirational contacts!

Travel 
– Two overseas trips with two of my best mates.  Visited New Caledonia, USA, Ireland, Israel, Germany and Austria
– Had weekends away at Hobart, Canberra, Melbourne (twice) and Hunter Valley.

Meeting John Howard

Things I didn’t ship but would’ve like to:
– a sub 60 City2Surf
– didn’t get to move in with my mate Tom

Mistakes:

– The main one is not having the signed books and DVDs in my possession prior to sending the DIY Web Strategy Toolkit email.

Here’s to 2012.
Reflecting on the year, I feel more and more grateful for the life I’ve got.  Of course there’s always room for improvement but we must always celebrate milestones along the way and I’ve tried to do this!  Living in the same building as my lifelong friend and business partner Tobes has been heaps of fun, as has living in Bondi – many great times.

Sadly, three friends passed away this year who were all way too young. I’ll keep them in my thoughts and their memory keeps me setting goals and chasing dreams because when my time is up, I don’t to be left wondering!

Of course, special thanks to family, friends, Bluewire colleagues, clients and everyone else who made last year unforgettable. Here’s to 2012!

​Read More
Business

Poke the Box – thanks again Seth

Many of my business and marketing friends pride themselves on having read every word Seth Godin has published.  I am not quite there yet, but I read his blog daily and have read at least 8 of his books.

I bought one of his recent titles, Poke The Box, as a hard copy and read it in one hit.  That is the beauty of Seth’s books, he is very succinct.   Poke The Box is only 70 pages.

By the way, Poke The Box is Seth’s term for giving something a go, doing something, starting.

Ideas are NOT enough. There are millions of ideas, everyone has them.  What we struggle with is implementing them.  Seth’s solution is to ‘poke the box’ and START.

You don’t even need to know how you’ll finish the idea or even if it’s worth finishing, but get in the habit of starting.  The gap between having an idea and doing something about it (ie. starting) is usually the failure point where we leave most of our intellectual capital on the table, wasted.

The notion to “get started” is simple but it’s certainly not easy.

What did I learn?
You don’t wait for initiative ‘to be granted’ . You must take it.   So start something.  Imagine if their were no bosses or middlemen, what would you do?   Go do it!

For example, magazine publishers have conceded to bloggers.  The bloggers have taken the initiative, not had it handed to them.

In fact Seth goes as far as to say the difference between organisations growing and dying is ‘initiative.’  He urges us to get in the habit of starting.  It doesn’t even matter if it goes wrong. In fact mistakes are a necessary part of the process.

Why do we usually do nothing?
Easy, FEAR.

It’s scary starting something new. And it’s easier to do nothing.  You fear it may not work, you fear you may get ridiculed, it may be too successful and you fear that.

Having 1000s of ideas and starting none is fear too (under the guise of self-protection).  And so is setting yourself up for failure.  Seth’s example is seeing Elton John at a bar and asking him to sing for free at your daughters wedding.   Of course he’s most likely to say no to a stranger’s request.

What must we do, aside from ‘get started’?
Invest in your relationships before you need to ask.  Earn the permission to ask!

Start Now workbook

 

Here is a gift from Seth.  A free, short, 23 page e-book to help you get started – Start Now: Poke The Box workbook!

If you like it, try reading Seth’s daily blog. Or get it delivered in my preferred format, via Seth’s iPhone app.

 

​Read More
Business

What’s Your Inside Advantage Asks Robert Bloom

Robert Bloom
Robert Bloom

I am usually quite wary of books written by old school advertisers, mainly because many of their beliefs and strategies were formulated before the web came along.   And of course a lot has changed in the last 15 years with the web.

However I found the “The Inside Advantage” by Robert Bloom to be excellent on many fronts;  very practical, no jargon, easy to read and based on strategy not tactics (which come and go).

Robert Bloom is the former CEO of advertising agency Publicis Worldwide and his book “The Inside Advantage” was recommended by Verne Harnish at the Growth Summit.

What I love is that the book is written as if Robert himself is guiding you (the reader) through a strategic workshop with Publicis Worldwide.  It is structured so that by the end, you and your team define the 4 things that will unlock your Inside Advantage – the secret to your company’s growth!

In short, Who + What + How + Own It! = INSIDE ADVANTAGE

Inside Advantage bookWHO: is your ideal core customer and why (10-15 words)
WHAT: is your ‘uncommon offering’ – what truly represents unique value to your ideal customer (10-15 words)
HOW: is the persuasive strategy that will convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering vs. all competitive offerings. This sells WHAT to WHO.
OWN IT!:
is the series of imaginative acts that will celebrate the company’s uncommon offering and make it well known to its core customer. You can have ‘explosive’ and ‘ubiquitous’ things you do.

Toby and I read the book and went through what Bloom calls the Growth Discovery Process.  It was a fun and beneficial exercise.

The key discovery for Bluewire:
Prior to reading the book Toby and I both struggled to truly identify our ‘ideal client.’   For years we’d been trying to define our ideal client by industry, sector, size, revenue or location… but there would always be an exception that would debunk what we’d previously defined.

Whilst reading the “Inside Advantage,” Toby immediately came to the realisation that our ideal clients shared a similar mindset, not demographics.  They were all people “who are dedicated to being #1 in their market niche”.

This mindset applied equally to the people at a billion dollar superannuation company as it did to the people at a local dentist, a high school and a big finance company.

We completed all of Bloom’s activities and we found the following was our inside advantage.

Bluewire’s Inside Advantage:

WHO: professionals/people in companies who are dedicated to being #1 in their market niche.
WHAT: trusted web strategy advisors who are devoted to communication and helping you make the most of the web.
HOW: Deliver value and show you care with every interaction, so the relationship always gets stronger.
OWN IT!
Explosive events —  seminars, annual birthday party, web strategy workshop
Ubiquitous events — regular wows, fixes and thank yous, free tools and e-books, VIP client lunches, thank you cards, birthday cards, personal notes and snail mail letters!

Bloom actually advises against sharing your “inside advantage” publicly, but I have decided to because I believe there is more to gain by sharing.  I am choosing to adopt Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh‘s wisdom here.  Tony says competitors can copy your products, website, marketing, pricing and business model, but they cannot copy your people or culture!

​Read More